A monk was cut into pieces when he was run over by his own lawnmower as he trimmed the grass at a convent, an inquest jury has been told.
Moments before his horrific death, the 50-year-old reverend was seen running after the driver-less machine as it set off without him in the 12-acre grounds of a peace temple.
A coroner heard that 10 years earlier, the Rev. Seiji Handa had suffered another nasty experience with a mower, when three of his fingers were chopped off.
An eye-witness told the jury how she had found the Buddhist monk chopped into pieces after he fell beneath the sharp blades of the tractor-driver mower at the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes.
Venita Slater said she had spotted the Rev. Handa chasing the heavy machinery as it pulled away from him while he was out mowing lawns at the peace temple.
She said the monk was dragged underneath the sharp blades of the trailer as he tried to get into the cab and regain control of it.
His remains, including muscle and bone fragments, were found scattered on the slope after the moving vehicle drove over his entire body killing him instantly.
The jury at the inquest held in Milton Keynes on Friday, was told that Mrs Slater was out walking with her children when she saw the Rev. Handa in the grounds, running after the mowing machine.
The mother-of-two added: “The tractor was running away and he was chasing it to stop it. But unfortunately he didn’t.
“I looked up but he had disappeared.
“I ran over to see if he was okay, but unfortunately he was not okay.”
Emergency services were called to the Peace Pagoda in Willen, Milton Keynes, where the Rev. Handa lived, after the accident on August 21 last year.
A crane had to be used to lift the grass cutter off his body. A post mortem examination revealed that he died of multiple injuries.
The inquest heard how it was not known why the Rev. Handa had got out of the tractor while it was still moving.
However, when he was trying to leap back in it was thought he slipped on the wet grass and got caught underneath the three sets of blades.
Taran Hewitt, from the Health and Safety Executive, said officials had inspected the diesel vehicle and found that it should not have been in service.
The ratchet on the handbrake was not working and the brakes were not able to hold the tractor steady.
The footbrake also did not work and Mr Hewitt said: “The only way you could get the tractor to stay stationary was to turn the engine off and leave it in gear.
“It should not have been used.”
Rev. Handa was in charge of maintenance of the tractor and was also responsible for cutting the grass in the grounds of the convent.
The jury heard that he was born in Japan and became a Buddhist monk at the age of 21 years. He was ordained at a peace pagoda in Sri Lanka.
He travelled the world to spread his message by actively promoting peace, chanting a mantra and by building peace pagodas.
He arrived in Milton Keynes in the winter of 1978 and built a temple with the help of nuns and a large army of volunteers.
The inquest jury returned a verdict accidental death after spending 20 minutes deliberating.
Milton Keynes Coroner Rodney Corner said: “It is not wholly clear what happened. Nobody actually saw what happened. Blood and other parts of his body were dragged behind the tractor.
“He has got out of the cab and desperately tried to get back into the cab. We don’t know why - perhaps there was a cutter malfunction in some way.
“What must of happened was that he tried to get back in but he slipped. He must have slipped on wet grass. It was just an unfortunate accident which was such a great shame.”
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